Mulo, which literally means “one who is dead,” is a Gypsy vampire. Gypsies believed that death was unnatural, hence any death was an affront and viewed as being caused by evil forces attacking the individual. Thus, anyone who died may become a vampire, especially if the death was caused by a suicide or an accident.
Those who came back as vampires would search out the person or people who caused the death and do malicious things to them and/or suck out their blood. Given the clannish nature of Gypsies, these people were most likely those close to the deceased. Relatives who did not did not destroy the belongings of the decease (Gypsy custom) but kept the possessions for themselves, where prime candidates for the Mulo to come after. The vampire may, also, hold a grudge on anyone who did not properly observe the burial and funeral rites.
The Mulo would appear normal, but could be detected by some sign in its physical body, such as a missing finger or animal-like appendages. There were some Gypsy vampires who would take on a horrible appearance, which made them easy to detect.
Gypsy vampires could be seen at any time of day or night, even though some did believe they were solely nocturnal creatures. Some believed that they could appear at noon when they would not create a shadow.
Male vampires were known to have a strong sexual appetite and returned from the dead to have sexual relations with a wife, girlfriend, or other women. Female vampires were thought to be able to return from the dead and assume a normal life, even to the point of marrying, but her husband would become exhausted from satisfying her sexual demands.
In order to destroy a Mulo vampire, a dhampire (the son of a vampire and his widow) would need to detect the vampire. It was said that dhampires had unusual powers for detecting vampires.
In some cases, Gypsies would drive stakes of ash or hawthorn into the grave or pour boiling water over it. in problematic cases, the coffin was opened in order to examine the corpse’s decomposition. Decapitating the corpse or burning it would destroy a vampire, as well as driving stakes through the heart, head, or stomach.
To ward off a vampire, Gypsies would drive steel or iron needles into the corpse’s heart and place bits of steel in its mouth, over the eyes, ears, and between the fingers at the time of burial. Hawthorn was often placed in the corpse’s sock, or a hawthorn stake would be driven through the legs.
The actual need to destroy a vampire was slight, as Gypsies believed that the lifespan of a Mulo was only about 40 days. Some believed that they had longer lifespans and sought to kill all vampires.